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E-Cigarettes a Concerning Behavior Among Indiana Youth

The 25th Indiana Youth Survey found an alarming rate of Hoosier students in grades seven to 12 are using e-cigarettes. Credit: Joseph Morris/Flickr
The 25th Indiana Youth Survey found an alarming rate of Hoosier students in grades seven to 12 are using e-cigarettes. Credit: Joseph Morris/Flickr
August 17, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - An annual survey highlighting the risky behaviors of Indiana kids finds electronic cigarettes are becoming a popular item. The 25th Indiana Youth Survey of sixth through 12th graders examines substance use, mental health, gambling and other factors that can have negative consequences on a student's success.

Carole Nowicke is research associate and reference library with the Indiana Prevention Resource Center.

"Twenty-four percent of 12th graders reported using electronic vapor products in the past year," says Nowicke. "So we were finding our youth are using the electronic vapor products at a higher rate than they are using tobacco products."

The survey found youth used alcohol and marijuana at rates lower than the national average, but Nowicke says gambling is a concern, with 40 percent of the students participating in lotteries, gambling at cards, or betting on sports.

Nowicke says the survey helps build awareness for parents, and provides useful information for schools.

"If your students are gambling at a higher rate than students in the rest of the state, if they're smoking more, say you've got a spike in heroin use or something, you might want to address that," she says. "You might want to change what kind of education you're doing with the students."

Nowicke says the survey changed a bit this year, with school districts adding up to 15 of their own questions.

"It doesn't matter what the questions are you can ask more in-depth about certain substances," she says. "Say steroids isn't a question that's on our survey, but you might want to survey your students and ask them if they use steroids."

The survey included responses from over 111,000 students at 324 Indiana schools.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN